What We Know About This Family
An Overview of Their Lives
The marriage of these two individuals is the connecting point of what I've termed the Philadelphia branch of this family tree and the Bavaria branch. Joseph Harris Henderson (known as Harris), the son of Samuel Ruggles and Martha Harris Henderson, was born and raised in Philadelphia. We know that his mother died when he was ten years old. His father developed his own cut glass factory, and by 1911, he was the Philadelphia agent for the Liberty Cut Glass Works in Egg Harbor City. None of the family knows how it is that Harris came to Egg Harbor City. His maternal grandparents retired from Philadelphia to Atlantic City at the end of their lives (about 1902 - 1915), and I believe he spent time there with them and his Aunt Mary Harris Lee during the years after his mother's death. His father Samuel was a Philadelphia agent for Liberty Glass Works in Egg Harbor, so it's quite possible his father introduced it to him. On the 1910 Census, Harris was living in a boarding house in Philadelphia working in cut glass (I assume this was with his father). He came to Egg Harbor City sometime before 1914 when he eloped with Florence Kuehnle.
The Kuehnle family was well known in Egg Harbor City. The German immigrant, Louis Kuehnle, Sr. and his wife Katherine had lived in New York City for a while before moving to Egg Harbor City during the time when it was first being developed. Egg Harbor City was founded in 1854 by German Americans from Philadelphia as a refuge for Germans being persecuted in the anti-immigrant "Know Nothing" movement. Louis, Sr. served as mayor of the town. He built the New York Hotel on Atlantic Avenue where the trains from Philadelphia made a stop several times a day. Louis, Sr. later built the Kuehnle Hotel in Atlantic City, which he left to his son, Louis, Jr., when he died. In 1886. Henry wrote a letter about the piano he purchased. The letter was signed by him as the Proprietor of the New York Hotel. I suspect that he met his future wife, Emma Schemm, when she was a guest at the hotel. Florence was Henry and Emma's third daughter and second youngest child. Her parents apparently did not approve of her choice of the young and poor Harris Henderson. On his 1910 census form, he answered that he had no education - I believe that wasn't entirely true, but both he and his sister had difficulties in the Friends School in which they were enrolled - his sister, Marto, was expelled for smoking. Little would Harris and Marto know that their granddaughters would communicate because of Ancestry, become friends, and share stories about them.
The Philadelphia Inquirer report of their elopement stated he was a "poultry raiser." Yet later in the year, he lost his eye at Liberty Cut Glass Works. Florence did talk about family heirlooms that had been stolen when they lived on the chicken farm. The young couple were living in Galloway Township when their first child was born. I suspect Harris worked a variety of jobs, perhaps some at the same time. He employed himself in various ways until settling on the profession that would occupy him for the better part of his adult life – the Henderson Printing Company, which eventually was located in the basement of the family home on Liverpool Avenue. On the 1920 Federal Census, Harris indicated he was in "manufacturing of cut glass". On the 1930 census, Harris indicated he was the owner of his own printing business. Harris and Flo had four children between 1915 and 1922.
Florence's parents gave each of their children a house. Harris and Florence settled at 27 Liverpool Avenue, which was just around the corner from the house where she was raised. Her sisters Kate and Emma lived in the family house with Kate's husband, Arthur "Snap" Mueller, for several years after their father died. Kate and Snap built a small house next to Florence and Harris, and Emma moved in there with Kate after Snap died in his 50's. Florence had family close by her entire life. The sisters and Flo's daughters reminisced about huge batches of cookies they'd bake with their mother at the big house.
The following recollections by various family members were collected at a family reunion in 1990.
Growing Up in Egg Harbor City
By Catherine ("Kay") Henderson Eckhardt (Daughter)
- Living along side the “Big House” of Grandpa Kuehnle – playing “Statue” in the yard at his house almost every summer evening.
- Going to Philadelphia with Mother and Dad, wrapped in a blanket if it happened to be winter to keep from freezing. Enjoying a Charlotte Russe dessert at Wanamaker’s.
- Peeking in at the masked ball at the Aurora Hotel across the street, where Aunt Kate (Katherine Kuehnle Mueller) and others had on their handmade costumes.
- Going to Ocean City to visit Aunt Kate and Uncle Snap (Arthur Mueller) when they rented a place at the beach.
- Spending lots of summer days at the “Lake."
- Enjoyed getting a treat when the bakery truck stopped in front of the house to sell bakery products. Favorite treat was chocolate cupcake with white frosting and coconut.
- Visiting with Grandpa Kuehnle on the front porch of his house, where he spent a lot of time, especially on weekends, counting the trains going to and from Atlantic City taking people to the shore to escape the hot city.
By Jean Henderson Wiegand (Daughter)
- Mother sitting at her sewing machine making the most beautiful little pinafores for the then four granddaughters, Carol, Pat, Lee and Barbara. She also made nighties and aprons. She took such delight in picking out the material and ribbons and buttons.
- Mother sitting at the dining room table writing letters to her loved ones. She wrote to me twice a week without fail.
- Mother in the kitchen slaving away, but what a cook! Naturally, everything from scratch. The most wonderful soups, meat pies, fricassees, fruit pies ever made. One event I remember was that sweet-natured Mother had some sort of kitchen catastrophe, and she threw out the whole cake in the garbage (I was shocked). This was not like Mother.
- Mother at the kitchen table after her afternoon nap enjoying the coffee/cake ritual – what wonderful conversations came from there.
By Jean Henderson Wiegand
- He used to chase us around the dining room table with a yardstick when we were ornery – I don’t remember any connecting with the stick!
- Two times I received $5.00 in the mail when I was in the Marine Corps, telling me to eat well! I remember how touched I was.
- I remember the lamb chops he brought as a special dish for a sick child. (They were much too expensive for the family).
- Such strong beliefs he had – for example:
- Bathrobes are only for the bedroom
- Cigarettes for women were taboo.
- Honesty above all. The word integrity was one of his favorites.
- You don’t have to go to church to be religious.
- Look things up in the dictionary – teach yourself – self education was his motto
- Although he was quite the homebody, his daughters were encouraged to take jobs away from home – experience new things.
- A favorite memory: Santa Claus peeking in the dining room window before Christmas, then knocking on the door and actually coming inside. Such excitement. Aunt Kate was a jolly old soul. That same dining room window was used a lot when I had scarlet fever and Dad could not come into the house because Mother and I were quarantined for 28 days. Certainly Harris, Catherine, and Duke had it first???
- One of Mother’s famous repeated stories I remember was the incident when she was very young coming into her mother’s kitchen and seeing pancakes cooking, to which she exclaimed, “For God’s sakes, pancakes.” That must have been a shocker.
By Lee Wiegand, Granddaughter
- The way the front porch angled into a corner at the side.
- The mysterious quality of the attic and all the things stored there.
- Getting off the train from Philadelphia and walking only three doors.
- The taste of the cedar water at the Lake.
- The sound of the presses first thing in the morning – I’m impressed now to realize they were going even before small children were up and about – what hard workers.
- The candelabra in the living room and the candle snuffer. They seemed so nostalgically old fashioned.
- The dining room “crumber” for the tablecloth and the fact that we always ate with a tablecloth. That seemed so strange, and even more so now that I realize how little and messy we must have been.
- The sound of the trains going by.
- Walking to the grocery store with Grandmother. Everyone she passed in the aisles greeted her by name - "Flossy." Everyone knew everyone. The best of life in a small town.
- I visited Aunt Kate and Uncle Snap on their porch at the big house one summer day. Kate was picking ticks off the cocker spaniel, Inky, and then burning them up in a piece of paper which she lit with matches. I was rather fascinated at the whole procedure.
- Uncle Snap had a box of ceramic tiles that I loved to play with. He honored me with the privilege of playing with them without his supervision in the wooded area between the two houses one day. I think I later had a nightmare that I had lost them somehow.
- Who can forget Aunt Em’s kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss greetings??? (Emma Kuehnle, sister to Florence and Kate) The colorful pot holders she crocheted by what must have been the hundreds. I have a couple still today,
- The tremendous excitement of arriving and going to our room and finding a handmade nightie (and later, muumuus) on the bed, and the look of loving pleasure on Grandmother’s face as she watched my reaction.
- Grandmother had a friend with a chicken farm, and she told me she would take me over to see it. My head was full of the glorious vision of hundreds of fluffy, yellow chicks, and I must have made myself quite obnoxious with begging for the days to come. When at last she invited us over, we arrived, and lo and behold, my vision of hundreds of baby chicks came true. But I was devastated and totally perplexed that they were brown and white, and not fluffy yellow. When I finally got enough nerve to ask questions, I remember Grandmother explaining very patiently, but also being very amused along with her friend in a wonderful, loving way towards her young, innocent granddaughter – me.
- No visit to Egg Harbor was ever complete until we had gone next door to Aunt Kate's (Katherine Kuehnle Mueller, sister to Florence) for some of her wonderful scratch-made waffles. I remember my cousin, Carol, and my brother, Steve, (the two future physicians) taking elaborate time to fill each waffle pocket with syrup before taking the first bite.
- When I was 16, I had a wonderful visit by myself. Grandmother discussed so many adult things with me – the story of Peter Schemm (her mother’s father) as well as her own elopement, and the conversation was with so much camaraderie – the first we ever had adult to adult. How special it was to me!
- The wonderful array of multi-colored paper that was always waiting for me from Granddad's print shop when I arrived. To this day, I go wild in stationery stores seeing different colors and kinds of paper, and I know it’s from remembering the fun I had.
- One morning during a summer visit, we awakened to hear the story of the bat that had been flying loose in the house the previous evening. Granddad had swatted it down with a newspaper. I was greatly intrigued by this whole incident – the bat and that we had slept though an event that was obviously a pretty eventful one for the adults involved and would have been terrifying for me.
- I remember the thrill of picking out pansies at the pansy nursery with Grandmother. One of my favorite flowers to this day! They're a symbol of love and excitement for me.
- Granddad was so adamant about having us stay out of his favorite chair. As a child, I couldn’t understand why this was so important to him. And now as an adult, I realize how obnoxious we were sneaking into it whenever he left the room, even when we knew it would be just a minute. And all the times he had to chase us out again. He reacted with far more patience than I would.
- The shock of finding out when I was a teenager that Granddad had a false eye. Losing an eye was one of the worst imaginable tragedies to me, and I couldn’t believe he could have had this false eye for my whole life and I didn’t even know it. I was so positive that he was kidding me, and it took everyone awhile to convince me it was true.
- Granddad told me with unprecedented candor when I was 16 that I could probably imagine very few things scarier than riding to the hospital in an ambulance after having a heart attack. He was referring to his own heart attack a few years earlier. I was surprised and flattered by his honesty.
- No arrival at 27 Liverpool Avenue was ever complete until we went downstairs to check out the print shop. Uncle Harris (Harris Henderson, Jr.) had joined his father in the business when he was 17, and he would always be there with his wonderfully cheerful and hearty hello and with such patience. Usually it was Grandmother who had to tell us to come upstairs – Harris would never let on that we were underfoot with our multitude of questions about all the interesting machinery and activities down there. Remember that guillotine of a paper cutter? My uncle showed me low to set type, and I spent a couple of hours doing that on the sun porch where they kept the type-setting equipment.
- I learned the meaning of this terrific sounding, unusual word “collate” as I watched Aunt Margaret (Harris’ wife) and Grandmother sitting at what I remember as a card table. They managed to turn work into fun.
- One day we all trooped to the car with Grandmother and headed for this new “restaurant” - McDonald’s. What excitement it was to buy a burger for a dime. And this convenience we take so much for granted now – what a relief it must have been from the toils of the kitchen. That visit had the aura of a true escapade.
- Aunt Duke (Florence Henderson) showed me how to do special facial treatments and how to wash out work dresses and hang them on the line. I was enthralled with the idea of her going off to a glamorous job every day and was always disappointed when she had to work when we were there.
- In general, when I think of Egg Harbor, I remember colors and flowers, the Boardwalk with my parents and my cousin, Barbara, wonderful things to eat like blueberries and corn on the cob, and most of all, joy and laughter, and so much love.
As I write the update to this family, I recall some of the things my mother told me or that I observed. She adored her father. I remember how childlike she could be in his presence, giggling at his affection, which to his grandchild was very sweet to observe. Her brother raised chickens, and during the Depression, the chickens were a food source for the family. She remembers their mother wringing the chickens' necks and weeping as she did so. Her status as an auto driver ended when she accidentally ran over a dog while learning. They had some challenges - early in their marriage, he would binge drink with friends. She was terrified he would kill himself driving. He turned over the car after such a binge one night, and after that I believe the binges were rare. After the children were grown, Florence suffered from debilitating depression in the days when shock treatments were the fix. In retrospect, we recognize she probably inherited this condition. He would hold her hand trying to pass his sunny nature through to her during the worst times. Good times and not so good, they successfully raised four productive children with humor and their drive to work hard. In his last years, Harris woke to the sounds of the singing birds and expressed gratefulness for one more day. He died quietly in his sleep at 81 years of age in 1971. Flo had a series of strokes that confined her to a nursing home for the last couple of years of her life. She died four years after her husband in 1975.
Proof of Relationship
None needed. They were only two generations away. This Family Group is written with much love for all the family members who made my life special.
About the Children
- Joseph Harris (called "Harris") Henderson joined his father’s printing firm at the age of 17, a profession he pursued until his retirement at 70, except for the two years he served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. He married “Miss Corbin City”, Margaret Sandmann in 1938. Margaret was born on 6 Aug 1916 in Camden, New Jersey to Henry (Harry) Charles Sandmann and his wife Emma Drummond Sandmann. Emma was descended from G. Drummond, who in 1702, purchased large tracts of land in New Jersey from the Indians. Margaret attended the Corbin City Public Elementary School and Ocean City High School. After graduation, she was a telephone operator in Tuckahoe from 1935 to 1936, and a clerk in the Post Office from 1937 to 1938 until her marriage to Harris. After marriage, Margaret served as a “Printer’s Devil” for Henderson and Co.”, where she could be of some assistance to the family firm at the same time that she raised their two daughters, Carol and Barbara. Harris developed a rare form of ALS, from which he suffered in the last years of his life before passing away in 1997.
- Catherine Louise (also called "Kay") Henderson was born in 1917, and after graduating from high school in Egg Harbor City commuted to the Atlantic City Business College. After graduating from the College, she was employed in a secretarial capacity in Atlantic City, then in Freehold, New Jersey, and in Washington DC, where, during wartime, she lived in a boarding house where she met her future husband, a fellow tenant, August Eckhardt, whom she married on 26 June 1942. August (“Augie”) was born in 1917 in Sylvan, Wisconsin. He attended elementary school through high school in Veroqua, Wisconsin, and from 1935 to 1937 attended the Kearney State Teachers College in Kearney, Nebraska. He then traveled to the University of Wisconsin in Madison where he received a B.A. in Economics. Upon finishing college, Augie attended Law School at the University of Wisconsin and finished his law studies at George Washington University in Washington DC. After the end of World War II, Augie and Kay relocated to Merrill, Wisconsin, where Augie practiced law from 1951 to 1952. His entire career was spent with law, and during that career, he was part of several Law Faculties: George Washington University from 1948 to 1950; the University of Wisconsin from 1954 to 1972; and then the University of Arizona in Tucson from 1972 until 1990, when he retired. Their son James was born in Galveston, Texas while his father was still in the military. Their daughter Patricia (“Pat”) was born in late 1946 after they settled in Wisconsin. Married for 65 years, Kay and Augie died within months of each other in Tucson, Arizona in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
- Florence Emma "Duke" Henderson, dubbed “Duke” by a family friend when she was a baby, was born in 1920 in Egg Harbor City. She enjoyed a long, professional career as an executive secretary beginning in 1939 when she worked for the U.S. Army. Between 1943 and 1958, she was employed with the U.S. Navy, and from 1958 to 1975, with the Federal Aviation Administration. She lived with her parents on Liverpool Avenue during this time, and after her retirement, she worked part time from 1975 until 1978 for Congressman William J. Hughes. She died in Galloway, Atlantic, New Jersey in 2011.
- Gloria Jean Henderson called “Jean” throughout her lifetime was born at the end of 1922, and after graduating from high school at the age of 16, attended the New Jersey College of Commerce in Atlantic City. Her completion of the secretarial course led her to her first job at Burch Realty in Atlantic City in 1941. In 1942, she worked at the Fort Monmouth Research Faculty in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. When the United States entered World War II, Jean was encouraged by her beloved older brother Harris, a member of the Marine Corps, to join the military. She joined the Marine Corps in the first women’s division, and trained at Hunter’s College in New York City before embarking on duty stations in Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Columbia, and Washington DC. In her last role, she was assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and accompanied them by plane often. She typed the rough draft of the Japanese peace treaty while stationed with the Joint Chiefs in DC.
Jean met her future husband Frederick Gerhard Wiegand at a Halloween Party given by a fellow Marine friend at her family home in Philadelphia where Fred was attending Hahnemann Medical College. Fred and Jean were married in Egg Harbor City on 22 Dec 1945, and lived in Philadelphia while he finished medical school. Jean worked for the first few months of their marriage at various temporary jobs in Philadelphia while Fred spent most of his days and nights at the hospitals receiving training. The few years of duty owed to the U.S. Navy turned into a 20-year career which took the family to Cherry Point, NC, Norfolk, VA, back to Philadelphia, then back to Cherry Point, Portsmouth, VA, Corpus Christi, TX, and finally to Chelsea, MA before Fred retired from the Navy in 1964 and relocated briefly to California before settling at a teaching job at the University of North Carolina in Raleigh, North Carolina. After years of raising their children, Lee, Steven, Paul, and Joyce, Jean qualified for a position as docent at the North Carolina the Museum of Art, She loved this endeavor and traveled often on Museum-sponsored trips, most of the time with Fred but occasionally on her own. She lived long enough to see and love all her grandchildren before she died of lymphoma in Raleigh in 2000. Her husband outlived her by 17 years, and died in Raleigh in 2017.
What Else We Need to Learn
The goal of this project is to trace every line of ancestry to the arrival of its first immigrant to America. The basic information of each couple is considered complete when we know the dates of birth, marriage, and death for both spouses. their parents' names (or whether they were the immigrant), and the child or children in our ancestry line.
The research on this family is complete.